November 25 2016
England's Lewis Moody says eddie has got it wrong this time!! World Cup winner Lewis questioned England boss Eddie Jones’ decision to reintroduce Northampton Saint Tom Wood into this pack for the visit of Argentina to Twickenham this weekend.
England v Argentina
Saturday, November 26
With James Haskell and Maro Itoje on the injured list, Jones has been forced to dig deep to fill the problem No.7 shirt, with club-mates Teimana Harrison and Wood sharing the duties during the Autumn internationals.
Wood started in England’s opening Autumn Test against South Africa earlier this month, his first start under Jones after he was originally exiled from the national side following a dismal Rugby World Cup 2015 and then was latterly described as ‘distinctly average’ by the Aussie.
England’s back-row injury crisis may have seen Wood handed a second chance with the Red Rose but Moody is not convinced the Northampton flanker possesses the required ingredients to be a success at the highest level.
Despite playing more than 40 times for England, Moody believes Wood has yet to reproduce his club form on the international stage, claiming the Northampton man’s reappearance for the Red Rose will be short-lived.
“For all the hype and talk, Tom Wood is yet to put in an appearance for England that makes you think he’s worthy of a starting spot,” said Moody,
“It’s not that he’s done anything wrong for England, it’s just he never really produces the same level of form as he does at the club. I’m not sure why that is – Eddie Jones’ previous remarks on the player are quite fair.
“I don’t know if we’ll necessarily see him again after this weekend. Only time will tell whether Eddie Jones feels Nathan Hughes and Teimana Harrison will be more of a brighter prospect for the further.
“For Eddie Jones this weekend, it’s all about winning and Tom Wood is a good line out option – hence the decision.
“Certainly Hughes isn’t, maybe Harrison showed enough against Fiji that he could start but we’d definitely like to see a few more back rows putting their hands up.
“For years we have been struggling with the No.7 shirt, we’ve obviously had the Armitage case, guys available but never used and we have to find the right balance across the back row.
“Out and outpace and stealing ability to add to that balance that I’m not sure many of the current incumbents have – it needs solving but I’m not sure Tom Wood is the long-term option.”
England have made four changes to their team for the visit of Argentina this weekend, with Saracens second row George Kruis replacing the suspended Joe Launchbury, Wood returning at seven, plus full-back Mike Brown and winger Jonny May.
Elliot Daly gets another start on the left wing, rather than his normal position of centre, while Harrison is named among the replacements in place of Nathan Hughes, who has a leg injury.
England have already beaten South Africa and Fiji in the autumn series, taking their record under Jones to 11 wins and no defeats.
Moody, a Land Rover ambassador, believes England have yet to get out of third gear this autumn, despite back-to-back wins against the Springboks and Fiji.
And the former England skipper has called on Jones’ men to put in a performance this weekend and put Argentina to the sword.
“I think they’re in third gear at the minute, which is good to say given they beat Fiji and South Africa,” added Moody. “I think the interesting thing is that South Africa drew with the Barbarians and lost to Italy. When you look at these results you think the England performances were substantial.
“The banana skin for England may be against Argentina. If they can get out of this game, then they can get to the game against Australia believing they can get a real clean sweep.
“They play a really good game of rugby now, long-gone are the days of high kicking and chase. “They play good rugby and exciting rugby driven by forward play and dominance, it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with it, I think they will.
“It’s nearly impossible to compare teams but in terms of where they’re at it’s a very comparable situation to 2003, albeit slightly further out from the World Cup.
“I know England had a 15-game unbeaten run at the time, which was a world record now taken by New Zealand. “This England team are very capable of going beyond that and further arguably.
“The decisions Eddie Jones makes aren’t about individual players but about the team winning. “He makes bold changes and the big decisions are about winning and that’s what the fans and public want to see.”
Lewis Moody is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover is committed to championing grassroots rugby and is continuing its ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign through the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal
England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Mako Vunipola
Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera